"I am delighted that Professor Hawker has agreed to this new position and we look forward to working with him to continue to advance the California NanoSystems Institute," said Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas in his announcement to the campus community. Hawker assumes the leadership role previously filled by David Awschalom, a renowned UCSB physicist known for his work in spintronics and quantum computation.
Hawker is also co-director of UCSB's Materials Research Laboratory (MRL), the only National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on the west coast, and founding director of the Dow Materials Institute at UCSB.
"My long-term goal for CNSI is to create a dynamic, world-class research institute that enhances and cultivates interdisciplinary activities that can meet present and future challenges in nanoscience research," said Hawker, who is also the Alan and Ruth Heeger Chair of Interdisciplinary Science. "An underlying philosophy of these efforts is to invest in and invigorate the experience of everyone from students to senior faculty with nontraditional research and educational programs. By strategically leveraging the strengths of CNSI, we will also aim to become a sustainable catalyst for the development of major, new research programs at UCSB."
CNSI is a joint effort between UCSB and UCLA, an institute created to "facilitate a multidisciplinary approach to develop the information, biomedical, and manufacturing technologies that will dominate science and economy in the 21st century." With forward-looking research in the fields of biology and biomedicine, energy efficiency, and information technologies, the center also collaborates with various research partners, on and off campus, to focus on the challenges of bringing the top-down approach of electronics manufacture together with the bottom-up assembly principles of biology, while also educating future scientists and pioneers in the industry.
"This will be a significant transition as we are evaluating all of CNSI's programs and operations. A major aim is to more fully integrate CNSI with the campus and to better serve students and faculty," Hawker said. "This will take numerous forms, from investing in high-risk, transformative research and providing state-of-the art facilities to innovative early-stage engagement with industry and a more focused portfolio of outreach activities."
Hawker's own research activities focus on synthetic polymer chemistry and nanotechnology, integrating fundamental studies with the development of nanostructured materials for advanced properties and functions in microelectronics and biotechnology. His work has earned him prestigious awards and recognition, including the 2013 American Chemical Society Award in Polymer Chemistry and the 2012 Centenary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry. He received the 2011 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award and the DSM: International Performance Materials Award in 2010. Hawker has also been elected to the Royal Society of Chemistry and was named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.